Sunday 22 June 2008

Development on Myola Road

I've supported, along with extensive research and features on CairnsBlog from Syd Walker about the development around Myola, especially the proposed Myola settlement, and a series of Council meetings and decisions that the public were excluded from.

Margaret Zehntner, secretary of Kuranda EnviroCare, wants to highlight an important development application on Myola Road, near Kuranda.

This is a unique part of our regional rainforest, bordering the World Heritage Wet Tropics.

The development at 138 Myola Road was approved by the Mareeba Shire Council on 15 May 2007.

Apart from 3 blocks fronting Myola Road, the remainder is within the Fairyland Link Wildlife Corridor according to Council’s Vegetation Map V1. Under MSC planning requirements which remain in force until there is a Tablelands Regional Plan, the restriction on clearing for a house block within the wildlife corridors is “an area of no more than 600sq.m”.

However MSC approved clearing of 3000sq.m. per block for this development. The restriction on clearing vegetation on slopes greater than 15% was also changed to allow clearing with some conditions attached.

Alerted by the clearing for an access road at least 2 residents referred the development to the Federal Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. This act allows the Federal Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts to change or overrule planning decisions which impact adversely upon threatened species or areas of biodiversity.

Following a visit by departmental officers, the developer has responded. This response is now available for public comment here.

The time allowed for public comment is only 10 business days, which ends on Tuesday 24 June.

Whilst the Kuranda EnviroCare organization will be making a response, every individual response carries considerable weight and will help to protect our wildlife and the forests upon which they depend. Please consider making a submission, referring to the reference number 2008/4255.
(The full title is “Christensen Family Trust/ Residential Development/ Lot 15 + 16, 138 Myola-Oakforest Rd, Kuranda”)

Referrals Section (EPBC Act)
Approvals and Wildlife Division
Department of the Environment and Water Resources
GPO Box 787, Canberra ACT 2601
Fax 02 6274 1789 or Email

You may wish to include the following points in your submission:
  • By fragmenting forest within the Fairyland Link Wildlife Corridor further habitat will be lost to the cassowary. Connectivity between areas of forest is essential for the birds to be able to access those areas with food sources. Those areas within the proposed development are shown on p.23 of the developer’s response. However without connectivity they become unavailable. Recommend that no boundary fencing be allowed within the proposed development.

  • Clearing of 3000 sq. m. per block would permit 30% to 70% of a block to be cleared. This would fragment or destroy considerable areas of habitat that a cassowary needs to survive. Recommend that the amount of clearing permitted be reduced to 600 sq. m. per block as required for wildlife corridors in the 2004 Mareeba Shire Plan.

  • Kuranda Envirocare has photographic records of sightings of a juvenile cassowary on lots on the southern and northern boundaries of this proposed subdivision in June ’07 and May’08. There is also a reported sighting of the northern bettong on a property on Jarrawee Road. Have you seen red goshawk, the common mist frog or the spectacled flying fox on or near this proposed subdivision? Please include any information on rare and endangered species in this area. Recommend that dogs and cats be excluded from wildlife corridors.

  • The developer gives the impression that the area is regrowth on cleared land or neglected pine plantation. However almost the whole of Lots 15 and 16 is heavily vegetated and forms the core of the Fairyland Link wildlife corridor as shown in the Mareeba Shire Planning Scheme. That the area was once farmed is irrelevant to the current status of this important area of rainforest vegetation.

We urge you to read the developer’s response and consider making a submission. The EPBC Compliance Unit will consider all submissions. If you would like more information, contact Margaret on 4093 8393 or Cathy on 4093 9926.

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